Emperor Emeritus Turns 90, to Celebrate at Home in Tokyo; Monitors Current Events With Concern About War and Peace

Courtesy of the Imperial Household Agency
The Emperor Emeritus poses for a picture before his 90th birthday at the Akasaka Estate in Motoakasaka, Tokyo, on Dec. 7.

The Emperor Emeritus turned 90 on Saturday. He lives a quiet life with the Empress Emerita, 89.

According to the Imperial Household Agency, the Emperor Emeritus reads morning and evening editions of newspapers and watches news on TV to keep up with what is going on at home and abroad, paying attention to people’s lives.

He still strongly cares about Okinawa Prefecture and issues of war and peace. This year, he visited exhibitions about Japanese detainees in Siberia after World War II and about people who migrated abroad from Okinawa Prefecture. He reportedly often talks with the Empress Emerita about the hardships experienced by Japanese people who migrated to Manchuria, present-day northeastern China, only to have to resettle in the Ohinata area of Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, after the war.

The Emperor Emeritus also cares about abnormal weather around the world and was concerned about damage from torrential rains this summer, an increase in the number of heatstroke patients due to record-high temperatures and the impact on agricultural products.

He always keeps in mind the situations of areas affected by natural disasters such as the Great East Japan Earthquake and is worried about the situation of Fukushima Prefecture, where there are people who are still not able to return their homes due to radioactive contamination caused by the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

He also cares about the activities of his son the Emperor — now in his fifth year on the throne — and the Empress as well as Crown Prince Akishino, and Crown Princess Kiko and other members of the Imperial family. He seems to be enjoying seeing the growth of his grandson Hisahito, 17, who will reach the legal age of adulthood, 18, in September next year.

As for his physical condition, since he was diagnosed with right heart failure in July last year, the level of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) in his blood, a common diagnostic index of heart failure, has been slightly high and a small amount of pleural effusion has also been observed. He has been treated nonsurgically with drug therapy and restriction of water intake, and his condition continues to be relatively stable.

On Saturday, the Emperor Emeritus was to attend a celebration at his current residence, the Sento Palace on the Akasaka Estate in Motoakasaka, Tokyo.